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New Office Market Report: Transit Service Is Key

April 12th, 2017 by Elaine Clisham

Housing near a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of NJTPA.

Photo courtesy of NJTPA.

A recent report from commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle confirms what has been anecdotally clear in New Jersey for some time: Office facilities that are well served by transit are seeing significantly higher rents and lower vacancy rates than their transit-non-accessible counterparts. This echoes research the firm did last spring on the New Jersey market specifically.

The report notes that not all companies can afford Class A office space in the densest cities, so many of them are seeking out sub-markets with good transit infrastructure. Office properties in those markets are enjoying rental premiums of almost 80 percent, and are seeing vacancy rates more than three percentage points lower, compared to properties in markets not served by transit. And almost half of all new office construction is taking place in transit-accessible sub-markets. Read the rest of this entry »

What is the Value of Green Infrastructure? New Tools and Events Drill Down

April 11th, 2017 by Louise Wilson

More and more people – from environmental advocates, to developers, to homeowners – have a general understanding of green stormwater infrastructure, also known as GSI or GI. The term encompasses all manner of stormwater management practices that capture stormwater near where it falls, allowing it to infiltrate into the ground or be stored for a beneficial re-use such as irrigation.

It’s one thing to appreciate the concept. What’s not to like about an approach that recharges groundwater, conserves drinking water, helps prevent flooding, saves energy and makes cities and towns cooler, safer and more beautiful? But the numbers have to work, too; the benefits must equal or exceed the costs. As New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach and New Jersey Builders Association board chairman George Vallone wrote recently in a joint message introducing the new Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide, “Innovation is great; it drives progress. But it also has to benefit the bottom line.” Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Roundup: Reinforce Your Redevelopment Strategy With Good Data

April 10th, 2017 by Elaine Clisham

The updated plan for Rowan Boulevard, which grew eightfold after research indicated a larger plan would work financially. Courtesy JGSC Group

At one of the breakout sessions at this year’s Redevelopment Forum, Joe Getz from the downtown economic-consulting organization JGSC Group gave a clinic on the importance of using good data to make decisions on downtown redevelopment projects. The familiar developer refrain “We’ve done this many times,” he cautioned, “is not data.”

There are lots of kinds of data besides demographic and Census data, he said, including interviews, surveys, and economic analysis. Such data tell us who will buy the housing we plan to build; who will shop in the stores; who will dine in the restaurants and what kind of dining they like. Census data doesn’t include any of those things, but they’re crucial to putting together redevelopment plans that will work. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Roundup: Making the Affordable Housing Numbers Work(able)

April 5th, 2017 by Elaine Clisham

Freedom Village, on the site of the former Apollo Dye factory in Paterson, provides affordable housing for low-income seniors. Photo courtesy of Pennrose Properties

“It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times” is how moderator Tony Marchetta from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency kicked off the affordable housing session at this year’s Redevelopment Forum.

It’s the best of times, he said, because courts are now starting to get specific about municipal obligations, and, at the federal level, there is a push to expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit by 50 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Roundup: Reimagining the Suburbs

March 27th, 2017 by Tim Evans

Village Center in Plainsboro. Photo courtesy of Mark Cannuli, Sharbell Development Corp.

New Jersey Future’s 2017 Redevelopment Forum featured among its breakout sessions a two-part series on redefining suburbs to adapt to changing demographic realities. The morning session highlighted demographic and economic trends that are driving new demand for in-town living and “live-work-play” environments. The afternoon session then featured practitioners who have worked on projects of various types that had in common the goal of attracting new residents who are looking for a compact, walkable, mixed-use center. Read the rest of this entry »

Guide Helps Unlock New Resources for Stormwater Management

March 23rd, 2017 by New Jersey Future staff

This article was written by Kessie Alexandre, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University and an intern at Jersey Water Works.

Workshop participants consider possible CSO+ project focus areas including economic development and redevelopment, parking and street upgrades, public housing, public health, energy efficiency, schools, broadband and internet access, and coastal protection.

On March 8, the New Jersey Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Permittee Network convened to share lessons and to brainstorm ideas for the future of stormwater management across the state. Held at the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, the meeting included a multimodal CSO+ workshop on “Unlocking Untapped Resources for Addressing CSOs” led by re:focus partners, as well as a presentation on an integrated CSO project already under way in the city of Hoboken. As Andy Kricun, executive director of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, explained, the meeting was “a good opportunity to share information and resources and include different stakeholders.” Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Feature: Federal Redevelopment Tools: Existential Threats, and a Few Opportunities

March 20th, 2017 by Elaine Clisham

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson

How will the new presidential administration’s policies affect redevelopment at the state level?

At New Jersey Future’s annual Redevelopment Forum, Smart Growth America President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Anderson provided an overview of where he thought the threats were, and where some potential opportunities lie. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Roundtable: Getting to a Regional Approach to Coastal Resilience

March 20th, 2017 by David Kutner

New Jersey has been developing densely and extensively along its 125-mile coast and fragile barrier islands for more than three centuries. Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call that storms are becoming increasingly frequent, severe and destructive as sea levels rise more and more rapidly. As a result, there is a growing awareness of the need to rethink the state’s development patterns. And because these growing threats ignore municipal borders, they seem to call for a regional response. This roundtable discussion explored what that response might look like and how it could be implemented to help us begin to reimagine our coast. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Roundup: The Changing Downtown Retail Paradigm

March 20th, 2017 by Allison Kopicki

Downtown Bordentown. Photo courtesy of JGSC Group.

Downtowns across New Jersey are facing a unique set of challenges. While many towns are seeing a rise in the number of people who want to live in a walkable, mixed-use town center, they are also facing the challenges of keeping their downtowns vibrant and full of retail tenants when New Jerseyans increasingly do most of their shopping on laptops and not in stores. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Roundup: The Future of Parking: Less Parking, Better Management

March 17th, 2017 by David Kutner

The Ferren Parking Deck in New Brunswick during its recent demolition. Photo courtesy of Jim Zullo, Timothy Haahs & Associates.

If you were planning to build a parking structure, would you invest in a 30-year bond to finance it?

That’s the question Bob Goldsmith, partner and co-chairman of redevelopment and land use for Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP, posed at the beginning of the Redevelopment Forum session entitled The Future of Parking, Today. The session explored whether the decades-long, ever-expanding demand for parking that has influenced the form of urban areas throughout the country will decline as market forces shift and alternative transportation options proliferate.

John Sullivan (presentation), a place-making activist and board member of Bike & Walk Montclair, suggested that declining parking demand presents an opportunity for communities to reclaim a portion of the public realm. He described changes currently being considered to Montclair’s ordinances that will repurpose areas previously devoted to parking into ever-changing public spaces. He suggested that if towns plan for cars, they get traffic and cars. But if a town plans for places and people, it will get enlivened, inviting public places. Read the rest of this entry »

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